Friends and Family Matters

After 11 weeks of football, there is only one sure thing about the playoff picture in the Yahoo! Friends and Family League: Jeff Ma and I aren't in it.

The other 10 managers remain in contention for a playoff bid with no one having clinched a spot in the six-team bracket. That means that any six of those 10 managers could be in, and any six could be out.

So what went wrong with the two of us?

For Ma, it started with first-rounder Tom Brady's season-ending knee injury in Week 1. At the time, Brady was the only quarterback on Ma's roster, so he had to turn to the league's waiver wire for help.

Entering Week 12, Ma has started Trent Edwards six times, Jason Campbell three times and Brian Griese once. None of those quarterbacks have scored more than 11 fantasy points in any of their 10 combined starts.

Between being Brady-less and having only one player ranked in the game's top 50 (Maurice Jones-Drew, rank 16), it's understandable that Ma's team sits in last place with a league-low 752 points on the season.

As for Team Gehlken, I can't say the standings are a fair indicator of how close this team was to being a legitimate contender for a championship.

Philip Rivers (season rank: 8), Marion Barber (11) and Andre Johnson (31) add up to a solid core, and Kevin Walter, DeSean Jackson and Plaxico Burress are top-30 wide receivers.

Other than Kellen Winslow being a complete disappointment, this team's one glaring weakness is that it lacks a true No. 2 running back. On draft day, I thought Jonathan Stewart would be able to fill that role by midseason, but DeAngelo Williams turned into a top-10 running back.

Then I turned my hopes to Ryan Torain. I rostered the rookie for more than a month in anticipation of his Week 9 NFL debut. In Week 10, he suffered a knee injury that ended his year. There was no plan C.

Two owners, two seasons derided by a pair of knee injuries. If Brady stayed healthy, things may have been different for Ma. If Stewart or Torain panned out, I might be making a late-season surge.

But sometimes things don't work out. That's why there's next season.

Working the wire
The following section catalogs the transactions that were made in the Friends and Family League following each week of the regular season.

The move: I dropped Correll Buckhalter and added Warrick Dunn with the No. 8 waiver priority.
The logic: Earnest Graham is out for the season, and Carnell Williams is questionable, so Dunn is the favorite to be Tampa Bay's primary ball carrier on Sunday. The news of Brian Westbrook's ankle and knee injuries didn't materialize until after this transaction, otherwise I would have dropped someone else.

The move: Jeff Ma dropped Lamont Jordan and added Sage Rosenfels.
The logic: In Dunn, I found a No. 2 running back on the waiver wire. In Rosenfels, Ma found a quarterback. Where was this four months ago?

Other adds: Justin Gage, Dustin Keller, Matt Cassel, Pierre Thomas, Ahmad Bradshaw, Jerry Porter, Dallas defense, Shaun Hill, J.J. Arrington, Deion Branch, Nick Folk, Jeremy Shockey, Washington defense, Zach Miller, Green Bay defense, Matt Bryant.

Other drops: Billy Miller, Kevin Boss, Chad Pennington, Kevin Faulk, Earnest Graham, Reggie Williams, Carolina defense, Koren Robinson, Marcedes Lewis, David Akers, John Carlson, Ladell Betts, Joey Galloway, Isaac Bruce, Lamont Jordan, John Kasay, Felix Jones

Setting the lineup
The following section shows the logic behind the sit/start decisions I have made for my team leading into Week 12.

QB: Philip Rivers has been too good at home this season, averaging 272.3 passing yards in four games with 11 touchdowns and three interceptions at the Q. He gets the nod on Sunday against Indianapolis. Eli Manning (at Arz) is the other option.

WR: Andre Johnson isn't putting up Ramses Barden-type numbers, but he's still a must-start each week. Kevin Walter (at Cle) is the No. 2 wide receiver, and Plaxico Burress is a game-time decision at my No. 3 spot. If his hamstring injury forces him out of action, I'm prepared to start teammate Steve Smith in his place. DeSean Jackon (at Bal) has too scary of a matchup to consider.

RB: Marion Barber (vs. SF) should be a monster play, and Warrick Dunn (at Det) could also go off. I like them both in the lineup over Antonio Pittman (vs. Chi) and a tempting Jonathan Stewart (at Atl).

TE: Kellen Winslow is questionable, so I'll be following his status leading up to kickoff. If I need to make a late move for a tight end, the top options from the player pool include Kevin Boss (at Arz), Billy Miller (vs. GB) and Marcedes Lewis (vs. Min).

K: Neil Rackers (vs. NYG) has made two-plus field goals in three straight games.

DEF: Tampa Bay (at Det) should be good for a double-digit fantasy point total.

What to Read Next